[Met Performance] CID:96500
La Forza del Destino {29} Public Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio: 05/5/1927.


Cleveland, Ohio
May 5, 1927

Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Leonora.................Rosa Ponselle
Don Alvaro..............Giovanni Martinelli
Don Carlo...............Mario Basiola
Padre Guardiano.........Ezio Pinza
Preziosilla.............Ina Bourskaya
Fra Melitone............Millo Picco
Marquis de Calatrava....Louis D'Angelo
Curra...................Minnie Egener
Mayor...................Paolo Ananian
Trabuco.................Giordano Paltrinieri
Surgeon.................Vincenzo Reschiglian

Conductor...............Vincenzo Bellezza

From the review (unsigned) in the Cleveland Plain Dealer


Honors Divided in Brilliant Performance of Verdi's 'Forza del Destino'

And now, as to this seldom heard opera of Verdi. I have had a number of reminders today that there are pitfalls for the unwary chronicler of musical events. Yesterday morning I said that "La Forza del Destino" had never been given in Cleveland. Before the mutational coffee had been set before me, I was corrected via the telephone. And during the day I was called to account by several opera-goers with better memories than mine. Quite justly. The work was given here perhaps eight or ten years ago not, however, since, and must have made a greater impression on my informants that it made on me, for I had completely forgotten it, though I was undeniably among those present. But if it had been performed as it was performed last night, it would most certainly have been unforgettable.

The story of the opera is artificial, totally lacking in plausibility; and it need not be related here. But to this unprepossessing text Verdi, to my notion, has written one of his best scores. It is not music of his later period, to be sure, nor is it an early work. It has in it the freshness, gusto and spontaneity of the younger Verdi, combined with the skill and adroitness of the composer's maturer period. These latter qualities were always notably in the very effective orchestration.

And the opera afforded both Miss Ponselle and Mr. Martinelli even better vocal opportunities than "Aida," in which they both shone so effulgently a few evenings ago. Or so it seemed to me. And apparently the audience was like-minded, for ovation followed ovation throughout the performance. Miss Ponselle sang wonderfully, incomparably. Maybe the tremendous acclaim she called forth spurred her on to surpass herself. Certainly, I have never heard more beautiful singing, not even by Miss Ponselle herself.

A Perfect Voice

This is a perfect voice, perfectly controlled. It has searching loveliness of tone; and it has eloquence and volume plus, and capacity for telling impassioned utterance. Well, this was memorable singing. Mr. Martinelli did not lag behind in the evening's artistic doings. Far from it. He was in splendid voice and sang with an ardor that swept all before him; and he too, was the recipient of resounding and prolonged applause.

That fine and richly endowed baritone Mario Basiola was heard for the first time in the current season, and he too was high in the favor the audience. Millo Picco was a capital Father Melitone; and one of the big successes of the evening was won by Ezio Pinza, as the abbot. Well deserved it was too, for he sang with appealing expressiveness, revealing a tone of exceeding warmth and richness. After his duet with Miss Ponselle both singers were recalled to the footlights innumerable times.

Ina Bourskaya was a piquant and animated Preziosilla; and the cast in its entirely left nothing to be desired. Once again, my sincere compliments to chorus-master Giulio Setti. The singing of his choir of monks was extraordinarily impressive. The opera was conducted in masterly fashion by Vincenzo Bellezza, who came in for a great burst of applause at the culmination of the overture between the first and second acts.

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